As a Northern Ireland citizen, I hope I'm qualified to comment on this.
First off, the Irish PM was well within his rights to pass comment on the situation in the North of Ireland, even though he holds no jurisdiction over
our Northern region. Let me explain :
As Othersideofthecoin has already pointed out, Brexit is a huge consideration for us at the moment; we currently have an open-border policy so I can
jump freely into my car here in Belfast, drive to Dublin and meet a few clients, and return, with no legal or physical barriers. The only thing I'll
pass through en route is a toll station.
When the UK (including N.Ireland) leaves the European Union, the rest of Ireland will still remain within the EU and some kind of cross-border policy
will be implemented. I don't know anyone at all here who wants to see a return to the old days where we had to go through military checkpoints manned
by armed soldiers, vehicles would be searched routinely, substantial physical barriers would be in place, and so on. The open borders we have enjoyed
for the last 20 years have been fantastic for not only cross-border trade and both economies in general, but also for socialising, for integrating our
NI and ROI communities better, and a multitude of other reasons. I work with a team of staff who are based throughout Ireland - Belfast, Cork, Dublin,
Galway - and it's great to be able to get together very easily in Dublin, periodically.
The main Unionist party in Northern Ireland- the DUP - are loyal to the UK and have no desire to change our current status quo. The main Republican
party - Sinn Fein - are loyal to Ireland and the party leader (Gerry Adams) has long pushed for a United Ireland; in other words, for the UK to
jettison Northern Ireland and for NI and ROI to exist as one country, just as Ireland does geographically. As with any move of this scale, this would
have both good and bad consequences.
As far as the general feeling on the ground goes, I believe the general consensus in N.Ireland currently (regardless of party affiliation) is that
most people would not want NI to become part of a united Ireland; most don't want to switch to the Euro; most don't want the massive changes to the
law, the economy, housing, infrastructure, salaries, benefits, healthcare and so on that a unification would bring. Ireland fared worse than the UK
did in the recession, and many here at the time wiped their brows with sighs of relief that we hadn't yet become a united Ireland.
Even before the peace process began in NI, our country has had a history of support from other world leaders who have attempted to act impartially and
as a neutral advisor. I fully understand when American posters on here says we should sort out our own problems - and I agree, to an extent. However,
like many other countries, we are unfortunately governed by two opposing sets of equally inept politicians who have long let stubbornness and their
belief in 'tradition' to overrule things like common sense, or making wise choices for the good of the many. I'm no fan of Bill Clinton, but I'll
reluctantly admit that if it weren't for his assistance in forcing the parties to get their finger out and progress things back between 1998-2000
(using a mixture of flattery, persuasion and strong-arm tactics), the N.Ireland peace process may still be nothing more than an idea lingering in the
ether. Before it, we had 2 groups of people who refused to work together or give any leeway in their demands, and the future looked bleak. The peace
process taught them to meet in the middle. Now we have had almost 20 years of fairly stable peace, and better relations all round. Is it perfect? No,
there's still a lot to work on. There is bickering, there is arguing, there are always stalemates. We're currently in the middle of a stalemate
because of an alleged corruption centred around a DUP heating initiative.
But it's still a hell of a lot better than the bombs and daily murders that NI endured in the 60s and 70s and 80s. I'll take bickering over that any
Bush and Obama were also involved in maintaining and continuing the current status quo here, though to a lesser extent. Thus it is likely that Trump
will also be expected to have an input at some stage; with Brexit looming on the horizon and Sinn Fein hoping to use that as a catalyst to strengthen
their case for a border-free united Ireland, the Irish PM is going to be participating in a lot of frank discussions with NI leaders, and it's highly
likely that, as they have done in previous years, they will turn to other world leaders like Trump during this.
I like Trump. I'm not American, but I would probably have voted for him if I was. However, I have to agree with the Irish PM; our NI peace process is
a hugely complex machine, which operates successfully at the moment because of balanced concessions and demands from both sides, and a power-sharing
setup which is delicate at best. I'm not convinced that Trump's typical bravado and ballsy rhetoric is the kind of lubricating oil that will keep that
machine running smoothly. Clinton was greasy, smarmy and charming, and that's exactly why his approach worked.
edit on 4-1-2018 by elgaz because: (no reason given)